Gyrating men in thongs with fire hoses don’t equal Scores or VIP Room. Men invite women who can make their vaginas wink, peel hard-boiled eggs, and serve ping-pong balls across the room. Lap dances and meat-whistles make up many a bachelor party. Women have an equivalent, but naked men swinging are not it. Don’t worry; I’m getting to “it.”
Bachelor parties make me bite my nails. I know if someone wants to cheat, he’ll find a way. This isn’t about cheating or behaving dishonorably when a woman offers you a drink with her breasts propped upon the platter. Knowing “my man” is in a seexually charged setting without me, aroused, makes me defensive. The quotes flanking my man signify fantasyland right now. But that’s not the point, so I’ll continue. Bottom line, the thought of “my man” in that setting makes me feel insecure, unseexy, and bitch-slapped. I want to hide beneath the covers and only have seex in the dark.
In that moment, he feels desired. She makes him believe it’s because she wants to; he’s different. He knows she’d want to jiggle her tits in his face for free, so he won’t insult her by not paying for the service. And when he feels taken for a ride, he does a shot and buys one for his buddy. You’re right, it is stupid, and women shouldn’t care or worry about strippers. But I do.
I told you I was getting to “it.” Put a group of eligible men in a room. Not just any men: savvy, handsome, smart, successful men who make us laugh. They pursue us and touch the dip in our lower back as we walk a room. They lightly touch our elbow and hold a stare longer. They like watching. They’re well-read and drip-feed us interesting trivia, then they say that thing. The thing that makes us hold our breath a little. The thing we’ll repeat to friends only to hear them sing, “Get out! You’re soooo lucky.” They feed us our favorite foods and lean in to smell our hair and bite our necks. They know how to take control. There’s nothing passive or wimpass about them. They make us feel beautiful and brilliant. They are possibility. They want our numbers and will call. Want to hear the worst part? They mean it. They are your worst nightmare the way bachelor parties in Vegas hotel rooms are ours. That would be even. Welcome to Manhattan on a good night. V good night.
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It’s the night of Smelly’s bachelorette party, and there’s no questioning it; I’m definitely sweating. In my hands are pounds of candy, condoms, a hollow penis, lingerie, an eye mask, brie, and my camera. While I’ve been to a few of these things, I’ve never been responsible for throwing one. I really don’t understand the naked man thing, the veil in public thing, or the “I dare you to kiss that ironically hairy bald man’s nipple” thing. It’s just not me, and thank god it’s not Smelly.
We begin at a salon for mani/pedies while we pass cups of Sauvignon Blanc. I hand Ms. Smelly Good Housekeeping Magazine. “Well, you’re going to be married. Act like it.” I claim Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine because I can’t find an In Style, and I’ve already been married, so I’m aloud. Yes, I have a subscription to Living and Oprah’s O Magazine. I’m Middle America in Manhattan; I can do meatloaf, knitting, host cookie swaps, create a scrapbook or four, and I started a very unsuccessful book club. So back off. O happens to be fab.
As our nails dry, I try on Smelly’s engagement ring. It’s classic and beautiful, as it should be, suited just for her. It’s perfect. I used to see women on Manhattan busses with their Birkin bags and enormous diamond rings and think, “man, she’s so lucky to have someone who loves her that much.” How assbackwards I was.
We’re off to be girls in the Hotel Gansevoort rooms. We eat, we drink, we primp, we watch Smelly try to beat down a penis piñata. She’s tired of trying to “rip the sucker’s head off, ” “break his balls,” or “poke his eye out,” so she hands me the umbrella stick. The baton is passed. She has no idea what she’s doing. I’m angry. I beat the shite out of the piñata… and the umbrella.
If there was a soundtrack to this next part, you’d hear Carly Simon’s, “You’re So Vain” and you’d turn up the volume. You’d start to really sing along for the chorus, but you’d picture his face when you heard, “you had one eye in the mirror as you watched yourself go by.” Routinely Jonathan complained I was too old. He criticized more than just the magazines I read.
“What the fcuk Stephanie, you act like you’re 50. No one I know our age wears scarves. Go to Prada or Gucci will you?” He’d command as he held up my Anya Hindmarch snakeskin bag. Then he’d stand shaking his head in a sawhorse stance judging my closet. “Here, take my gift certificate, and buy something. You need it more than I do.” I had a 3 carrot engagement ring.
I don’t like to wear what everyone else is wearing; my style is older, and nameless. My own initials are enough. It’s the same for my mens wedding bands. Still, Jonathan would thumb through my closet before our dinner reservations complaining; “I’ve seen all this stuff already. You need to go shopping, and not for scarves or long coats or purple label cashmere crewnecks. You need to be more hip.” Where’s an umbrella when you really need one?
You know what, I love my long glamorous coats, and my scarves with suits or in my hair, as a belt, or as a top. And I don’t like how he spoke to me, telling me what to wear and what music to like. Telling me my tastes were too old. “Who drinks wine when there’s Bombay Sapphire or Gray Goose?” It’s as if even my drink order wasn’t trendy enough for him. I still wear my scarves, sip my wine, sing at the top of my lungs to Carly Simon, and embrace my luxurious casual stacks of sweaters. Now, I just don’t have to listen to anyone telling me not to be me. So will you all ease up on the Oprah and Martha stuff?
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